In her October 28 nationally syndicated column, titled "Forty Excuses and a Mule," right-wing pundit and author Ann Coulter falsely asserted that Elizabeth Edwards -- whom she identified as the "white wife of vice presidential candidate John Edwards" -- "warned of riots unless John Kerry is elected." Coulter also incorrectly stated that no black voters were disenfranchised in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.
Coulter mischaracterized remarks made by Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator John Edwards, at a Kerry campaign meeting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. According to Coulter:
White liberals have been indulging their fantasies of violence against conservatives lately -- physically attacking conservatives, ransacking Bush-Cheney headquarters (though not any NRA headquarters, I note). The white wife of vice presidential candidate John Edwards recently warned of riots unless Kerry is elected.
This is what Mrs. Edwards actually said, when questioned by a campaign supporter on C-SPAN:
SUPPORTER: Kerry's going to take PA.
EDWARDS: I know that.
SUPPORTER: I'm just worried there's going to be riots afterwards.
EDWARDS: Uh -- well -- not if we win. We're gonna go have a good time. Thank you very much.
Coulter also falsely claimed that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) was unable to identify any African-Americans in Florida who had been wrongly disenfranchised during the 2000 election:
COULTER: Kerry claims Republicans disenfranchised 1 million black voters in Florida in 2000, but neglects to mention that after extensive and expensive hearings, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission failed to name a single one of them. Can you name just one out of that "million," Sen. Kerry? We've found more WMDs in Iraq than we've found disenfranchised blacks in Florida.
Media Matters for America has already noted that the USCCR report indicated that numerous Florida voters -- many of them African-American -- were wrongly disenfranchised due to defective voting machines and an inaccurate list of supposed felons who were wrongly deemed ineligible to vote. The USCCR is an independent, bipartisan government agency established by Congress in 1957 and charged with monitoring and protecting voting rights.
Coulter's column was posted to her personal website on October 27. Coulter is the author of How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter (Crown Forum, October 2004).